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tv   Book Discussion  CSPAN  June 14, 2015 3:30pm-5:16pm EDT

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political figure in pennsylvania, as a political figure on behalf of the colonies in europe, political figure back with the declaration of independence, back to europe, representing now the confederacy of america during the revolutionary war. then comes back and actually serves as a key figure in the constitutional convention, helping to save the day really, for that constitutional convention and arguing for it, and what was a very close thing in the approval of the constitutional convention in the 13 states. benjamin franklin, bigger than life figure, quintessential american home spun, shrewd, smart, entrepreneurial represents so much of the american character. this is a wonderful biography. and finally "dying every day. "i have a love of ancient roman history. this book is all about the roman
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poet seneca, who was sort of the artist in residence at thecourt of nero, and the odd juxtapositions between this man seneca and this tyrant, nero, and how he tried to survive in that time period while being on the other hand a very senior adviser to nero. and it was a veriy business. a -- very tricky business. a great piece of roman history bat controversial and not easy relationship and a very easy and great read if you like ancient roman history as i do. so that's my summer reading for now, and i hope to be back next we're with an equal number of recommendations. >> booktv wants to know what you're reading this summer. tweet its your answer@book tv or you can post it on our facebook page. up next on booktv, lewis gordon talks about about the
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life and philosophy of frantz fanon, author of "the wretched of the earth. ". >> so, good evening. welcome all to the book culture for tonight's event. my name is roger burk co witness. i run the center at bard college. we're here tonight to talk about and to celebrate the publication of lewis gordon's book, what
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fanon said. it's an honor for me to have -- to be one of the serious editors in the series at the university press that published this book and i'm excited to have the conversation tonight. i'm going to introduce the speakers as they go along and as they're going to speak. we have a large group of people who are going to comment on the book. i've asked them each to speak for five minutes and then conclude their talk with a question for professor gordon. and we will begin with professor who teaches at rutgers university. her latest book is "law and revolution in south africa. ." >> its an honor when lewis gordon asked me to write the afterwords for this book, and i want to focus my comments tonight on two very
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controversial cases the love affairs of -- which have often been read in black skin white to be a simple critique of interracial relationships and in order to set at the background for that, want to take one of fanon's most controversial remarks and put it in a new light based on lewis gordon's work, which is fanon said i know nothing has a black woman, and she was seen as just being another man who wasn't trying. but instead he was making a much more profound pound which gordon points out, that what it meant to be black and a woman. given the conditions of the oplate racing of sexual -- obliteration of sexual difference, under conditions of slavery, and indentured servitude, and the complete collapse of the idea that a black person could have an inner life was that what he saw what he heard what he studied in
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psychiatric hospitals had nothing to do with these black woman who could absolutely enunciate an i. what he knew as a black woman was oplate racing. not a trivial statement. an important state. this takes us to the two famous examples of one woman of color trying to find a way out of her lack of sexual difference, because the way black women are stereo typed -- we see it in the movies all the time -- their either monster seductive yeses or super evil. find a sexual difference by being -- otherwise there is no femininity, and this is so crucial for feminists because if we think there's such a thing as a woman that is in any way suffered from a racialization that has already taken place you miss the point. you look at this country.
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turns on fantasy of white femininity pitted against fantasies of a black lack of femininity. at one point one of this mooedallistic movements led by the communist party in 1931, group of black and white women fought against lynching by saying they were rejecting the way in which both white and black women had been buried under racialized fantasy. the attempt to escape individually by finding a way of being mirrored as white felt differently with the two because there's no way for them -- a woman can ever mirror a black man as man no matter how white she is, and then n the case -- she is stated to be -- both in fact fail at this attempt at a love affair.
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this wasn't just fanon telling us about these individual failures or even the failure of an individual way out. it's pointing to something that is not often known. his writing on the struggles but at the end of the day you can't read fanon at least not when you read him with lewis as other than somebody who profoundly saw that the struggle against decolonialization had to be a struggle for radical transformation and for feminism, not just egalitarian feminism that women should participate in all walks of life, but the whole way that colonial erotic relationships have been struggled through race, that it completely destroyed a sexuality, had to be totally challenged. he offers us a feminism that is intimately connected to a radical transformation so this you get out of gordon's book
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mitchell question to gordon, having put fanon on the side of erotic transformation and how we have been racialized and femininitied in the worst way that would allow to us open up a new ground for sexual difference. where would lewis take us now in a politic of decolonialization that would emphasize this kind of challenge. >> thank you very much. we will have eve panelist ask a question and professor gordon will take them end. the next panelist is badgette henry, a professor at brown university. the author of many books. most recent is -- i have that
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correct? [inaudible] >> good evening everyone. it's a pleasure to be here. certain lay pleasure to be celebrating lewis gordon's new book. this book is a wonderful synthesis of all of the ideas that lewis has been working on, and thinking about in relation to fanon for many, many years. you can go back to fanon and the crisis of european men. you can look at his edited volumes. fanon, a critical reader, and you can see that this book is a wonderful synthesis wonderful combination of his thoughts on fanon so far. now, among the many ideas that gets so nicely synthesized here, i want to comment basically on two. the first is the idea that lewis
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draws out that in this black skin white mass, fanon speaks to us out of two voices. the first voice is that of what he called the black or the voice of the text. the second voice in which fanon speaks to us he calls the voice of the theorist or the voice about the book, and it is very important that we distinguish these two voices. lewis suggests a comparison between the voice of the black and the condemned sinner in "the inferno" and a comparison between dante's guide and -- right and these are just other metaphorical appropriations to help us grasp these two voices to which fanon speaks to us in this text. and so recognizing this
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distinction, i think is really important. it helps us to read the text differently and lewis does a good job in developing this point. and closely related to this point is the very, very interesting suggestion that in "the wretched of the earth" these two voices become one. so the rising subject shifts in "the wrenched of the earth" and it's very skillful, scholarly inciteful way he does this, really -- makes for excellent reading. the second idea i want to comment on is lewis' brilliant treatment of the idea of failure in both freudian and -- in describing the journey of the black, from the hell of racism, fanon portrays it as taking the
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form of a series of projects. projects of self-redefinition. however, as lewis opinions our these projects often fail. one ron -- reason why they fail is they makey of many of the defense mechanisms that we see in psycho analysis, such as projection compensation, inflation, deflation, et cetera. however we know that when used extensively, at very low level office self-consciousness, these coping strategies generally lead to failure. the human ego or the -- realizes itself through projects also. and projects that also make some -- makes use of some of the
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strategies of the -- self-formation we see in psycho analysis. and here, too the projects of the -- often end in failure. and again they end in failure to depending on the level of self-consciousness at which they're undertaken. so it is not surprising, then, given the nature of these projects by which fanon defines the event from the hell of racism that man of these projects fail. the mechanisms that they're using to re-define the black identity are projects that used to find the black identity often fail and lewis does again here a very wonderful job in developing both these psychoanalytic roots
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of the concept and making clear why we get these repeated failures and what it means for the battle against racism. now, my question for lewis relates to a project. the way in which the black turns to the project and the response in his marxist critique. the question is, who is responding here? the black or fanon? and what are we to make of the fact that marxism becomes a vital part of fanon's revolutionary project. so that's my question. >> thank you professor. the next commentator is ku liu
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professor of philosophy at john j. college and she is the author of a reading -- >> thank you. thank you lewis for writing this beautiful book and thank you all for being here and thank you to my fellow panelists here. i would like to take up this question of voice and vision that henry just mentioned. one of the quotes i wanted to discuss. the question of the dual not only existess but enter weaving of the voice of the text and the voice about the text. the texting the black. right? so the autobiographical narrative that is the
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experiencal voice of narrating the story then there is the reflective commenting on that series that voice about the text. that the kind of structure that comes into play that we see in black skin and white mask and also what lewis really stresses very beautifully and skillfully in his unfolding of this inner drama and experience. as a kind of antidote to that tyranny of the imposition of exteriority that the book is highlighting. i want to take up that question and ask lewis and us to think about that structure from a
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little different point of view, and that will be the viewpoint of temporality. i was very struck by this -- what i see as a recurrent and simmering presence and recurrence of this figure of the child this -- and the adult. so voice of the text is the voice of the child in a sense. the voice about the text is a voice of the adult. relating back to this experience that now becomes materialized in the text. i thought about this moment when what you call -- what you define situation in terms of realization of a -- experiences. that is an interesting way to think about this connection
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between the child and the adult through the lens of what it means to philosophize. so fanon is a modern thinker and coming out the french tradition of narrating one's own life. right through various critical operators. go back to this moment, me moment when the child begins to think. the moment of trauma, the moment where experience -- and so i could ask the question first and see what sense you make of that question in relation to what i found in your text about the children. the question i have is this. this kind of -- we're looking at this very new generation of people not only children, kind
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of incense advertized by the digital media culture where the other is experiencing through the flat screen. look this moment that fanon brings in as a foundational moment to cite your words your beautiful description of this world's first act. right? a child is shouting. hurling this word at me. a negro right? now, that kind of encount tends to happen nowdays online, right? so i think it's interesting to think about child as a thinker. this is my starting point. child is the one who makes --
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who begins to think and also from the childhood experience we begin to theorize in our world and now this access to the experience of the other seems heavily mediated through this in a different kind of experience, and so how do you teach what fanon said in a very -- how do we transfer that to the idioms of the material culture, and i think about it as a generational challenge but also as a kind of task of philosophy. what does it mean for us philosophers to experience this? because one of the beautiful and compelling and powerful moments in this text, as you'll recount is that experience. how we make sense of that. right? somehow our experience is -- the
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mechanism that actually bar us from accessing that scene. so, in other words, the question in addition to what fanon said, i would ask what would fanon say. what would fanon say about the task of philosophy, grounded in what we still like to call experience as realization of a situation where the situation is still somehow a functional of various fab brick indications of media, and so also the kind of how you educate ourselves as well as the -- all of us who were at one time children. >> thank you very minute. much. the next commentator is doug, caught at the john j. college in
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criminal justice and a visiting professor at the university of knew of new haven. >> good evening. thank you for coming out tonight. somewhat rainy night. to discuss and to celebrate the publication of what fanon said by lewis gordon. an important text, who is important is not limited to the field of the studies. a field that gordon hopefully outlineesed in this introduction. our panelis have all addressed key aspects of this text from his analysis of the black woman to his methodological approach which is informed by the idea of failure. i would like to consider this question. given the secondary literature on fanon, which is substantial what makes what he said unique and frankly worth reading? several possibilities -- possible answers to this question come to mind.
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for example i would argue that gordon's interpretation of black skin white masks as a blues text is both unique and remarkably inciteful. consider the following passage from chapter 4. gordon writes the blues is about dealing with life's suffering of any kind in an absurd and unfair world. because of this is it the motif of modern life. black people, we should urge, were produced by the modern world, theyes the -- the irony is that black skin white masks is a blues test in that work fanon tells a temperature stat is retold in mounting layers of revelation at the moment of catharsis, the weeping the sobriety off efforts confrontation with a reality that was previously too much to bear. a reality without hope of
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approval reality in which the die electric tick of recognition must be abandoned. i also argue that gordon's analysis of fanon on the issue of interracial sexuality is both nuanced and faith of the relevant texts themselves, which according to gordon often go unread. fanon, as man of you know, has been accused of misogyny and homophobia and in what he said gordon addresses these accusations explicitly in defending him against most of them but also taking him to task for his sexism against simone to whom fanon gives no credit even though he was clearly and seemingly profoundly influenced by the second -- and the ethics of ambiguity. ultimately the discussion end with the move to decolonialize
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sexuality, project gordon powerfully demonstrated. monnig perhaps what makes what fanon said unique as a text is the theoretical proven that gordon takes an approach that purposefully avoids what he refers to as disciplinary deck dense and what is disciplinary deck dance? when people privilege their discipline to some an extent they deny any other way of knowing. and political theorists insist on knowing fanon if not the world in terms of political theory. for gordon are this is not departmental territoryism, rather it is, as he explains in his book, living thoughts and trying times the unapologize organize -- of a discipline. in such an attitude he writes --
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this is length doyear we treat our discipline as though it wasser in born and has always exist and will never change or in some cases die. more than immortal it is eternal, yet something that came into being lives in such an attitude as a monstrosity as an instant of human creation that can never die. such a perspective brings with it a special fallacy. it assertion as absolute eventually leads to no room for other disciplinary perspectives. the result of which is the rejection of them for not being one's own. thus if one's discipline has forked the question of its scope, all that is left for us is a form of applied word. such work works against thinking. fanon did not succumb to disciplinary deck dance, which is why his works are uniquely challenging and neither does gordon. there is a commitment to transto
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quote unquotes outlaw thinking in what fanon said and as a text represents another major contribution to fanon's studies from lewis gordon. finally, as i'm supposed to ask a question, there is a debate raging even within the last 24 hours, as many of you probably know berth in role of intellectuals in society mitchell question is, what does the example of fanon tell us about that special role? thank you. >> thank you. our next and final commentator before we get to lewis gordon himself is nelson torrez, an associate professor of the department of latino and hispanic caribbean studies comparative literature program at rutgers university. his first book is "against war:
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views from the underside of modernity." >> thank you. i have been the beneficiary of listening to what lewis gordon has been saying about fanon for almost 30 years. and so when -- we thought we had sort of 15 minutes to provide a comment, and i merely took to task and i wanted to make sure that i not only provided a comment but also that i responded to the location with a previous to my t-shirt on the publication of his book, and so i was so focused on that, that seems i lost the second memo saying that it was only meant to be five minutes and a question. so you would tolerate me perhaps a little bit more while i share with you the ideas that i have prepared in condensed
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form. but hopefully will shed -- add new layer. >> i have entitled this what lewis gordon is saying. this is only the first 2015 minutes itch'll run through it. lewis gordon what fanon said introduction to this life and thoughts was originally meant to be part of a series of volumes on what certain thinkers -- and there are few more thinkers about whom is so important to know that they really said given the enormous quantity of ideas. fanon remains one of the most misinterpret thickers which is a result of this truck tour hovel intellectual political project ask his writing. fanon writes with a clinical goal in mind.
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in his writing he produces multiple mirrors that reflect back on the reader and the society. the mirror are designed to reveal thing that would rather left behind and the response from the self is often to evade. simply on what they deem him to be doing rather than taking the time in figure ought what he is actually saying. the result is that we are often -- fanons ideas taking time incorporating enemy our discussions and debates. art, philosophy, lilt tour, and hardly getting to responding to the fundamental imperative about bringing about the end of the world. gordon said, the favor of making it easier for us to focus on
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fanon's ideas -- particularly on the questions that he raised to his generation and he still races to us. ... for philosophy, i think. remember that this is a philosophical introduction to his life and work. the title of the text highlights the importance of saying and this is a topic of high political importance in fan op. this is where i would offer an initial approach to what fanon said through the phenomenon of the saying as it appears in fanon's work. now this is only the first short part of a longer essay when the plan is to focus on three things that gordon says about fanon but also gordon says as gordon. and one has to do with the meaning of significance of blackness in relation -- and i want to develop in relation to the higher concept of being
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with relate to being and third, the significance of liberation and emancipation -- [inaudible] and i think what gordon says is that blackness and anti-blackness form a key axis of the modern world, but we also need to understand this in decision to colonialism. purely how it presents himself as an essence. also fanon and gordon say no matter how difficult it is, it is not only possible, but necessary to strive to emancipate ourself from them. so it is far from a form of pessimism. now, in my -- [inaudible] of the saying of fanon in relation to what fanon said, i take my clue from the following in the introduction of fanon's black skin/white mask, fanon writes and this is how it begins. don't expect to see an explosion
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today. it is too early or too late. i am not the bearer of absolute truths. .. i have dedicated some knowledge of this name and i will elaborate on the point of view. since the appearance of his first book 20 years ago lewis gordon has done many things. to say i am right, not shout is recognized that shouting does not belong to the arena of
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discourse. and shouting them indicated the work. it's the philosophy that existed through many of his wriing it is part of the path of the system as they struggle to emerge from what fanon refers to. they are both philosophers and has so much significance. the second chapter is writing for the tone of not being an indicated the centrality of it. the fear of existence as gordon has put at the act of becoming
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an extraordinarily unaware of what is meant. exceptions from the human norm become ordinary. what is referred to here creation of the difference to the dividing question. this is what could be referred to to philosophically one issue is to do being. for instance something enough basic language ceases to be a communication understood. it seems to be that a part of
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the drama would be needed to return to itself because they cannot establish the contact with another. the break is found on the political assistance in favor living in the world on the political density and a fictive deviation to the issue. that is the move to the point of the other through the language to return and focus on trying of giving hand or herself to others the drama of the subject to give density to itself as.
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there are problems in his past coming back. the first problem is the subject of the stage which they are upset at being in the narcissistic fashion. the second one is that they want to be for the most part conceived of what they are. and therefore it acquires a component even in one's self. it does remarkably those and you can find many reflections of this. this is part of what he has been saying for years. it is only the subject opposed to the idea that if if they use this passion for the most part it is to be both in itself or for itself.
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rather than human beings in the abstract is people in the modern age they are informed. if we want to learn more about our ideas about the behavior of people with, we should entertain the extent to which the world is informed by the production such as white and black and therefore speaking of the general. putting it in perspective it is in relation that starts the characterization of being in a fashion that primarily applies. it would seem to reflect most simply they would seem to reflect most in the passion of
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trying to be. of course also because another way of trying to become god however this is not the simplest that are which makes a fundamental difference. at the same time it is at the emphasis of blackness which means they wouldn't only endure wanting to be at the same time just with a highlight but also prior to being against itself. a similar fashion they also do not want to be black and do not want a world where the passion is also very intentionally genocidal. having an identity that is based on others comes back to itself in various ways including the
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use of technology in the expansion but is different. in relation to world war i and world war ii. after the continuation is so significant is that shouting them to the desperation isolation and the skepticism and cynicism are the subject of these. they say things not kept in the shadows but someone in the colony, plantation and yet coming through. modern philosophy may have been born there. there was no evil genius needed.
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one can understand what is going on and he wonders not to understand the importance that that they are saying it. it is an expression of the act of the communication that they are supposed to avoid the substance so they are both trying to achieve but in chapter when they do not achieve. it indicates the move away from the tendencies that are found into place the kind of thing that is also made by the desire to inspire the process into the philosophy that is rooted and it could also be the philosophy of wisdom into turns out that along
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with language and communication for a second become so for others. this is another way to read the relevance of the chapter on the second or third. but it continues to show the order both entering the substance over the course of another. the philosophy than to conclude it is a point of saying for love she writes of that in the text. the world wouldn't be the same without him or her.
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[inaudible] some 17 years ago. this doesn't mean we also find that he listens. this doesn't mean that he idealizes but acknowledges all and he will go farther than most in establishing the dimension that it doesn't seem to be a word that a work of love and also of understanding and communication saying it's not only the philosophical introduction but also to philosophy itself to consider a self of understanding and openness to others.
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the >> it's appropriate. a microphone is not on the. they've done an admiral job of expressing the breath and depth of the book. from its very title it attracted us when we first read it. i think one of the real interventions is to take it away from arguments about biography and other things. someone who deserves to be taken
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with his own right in his book has made the case crystal-clear and it's a case that will appeal to experts who know an enormous amount and so i think we should say that and the leadership of the book could be pretty wide. and we will have time for some discussion from the audience. many of you know that he's the professor of philosophy. and he is from a distinguished professor at rhodes university.
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they've entered the africana philosophy but james gordon and defined warnings are. [applause] >> you all know this is because my shoes on. [inaudible] i could keep going on but thank you all for coming out this evening. first this is the first ever
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book i've done. i'm one of the these people who the moment i finished the book i move on. i've been in context with people but i've never launched a book. i decided to give it this time severalfold. i started a celebration that began in nairobi on the rooftop in january going through mexico to around the world because those were the in the globe and the other is connected to people both sitting here and also you in the audience and what i mean right that is first with me begin with entrance of -- begin
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with the price itself. they list and put together a series that is committed to something that you don't see happening much in the academy today and didn't academic publishing because you see a lot of people in academic publishing and in the academy are not as much interested in the ideas were dealing at the dreaded doing it dreaded phenomenon called reality. it's more professionalization location and the opportunity for publishing. it is absurd to think if it's writing for tenure. [laughter] >> you know what i am saying. we could go through the litany
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of. if you think about some of the people i teach in my classes or when i think through the idea from vietnam to china to latin america the concept of what it is to engage the world has been colonized by the presupposition that ideas can only be legitimate to the tiny set of market conditions in the academic framework. i'm not an anti-academic. what i'm concerned about is whether it is in the larger scope of intellectual work so it
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becomes crucial if we are trying to speak to our species which means actually speaking beyond our generation really to do something called saying something. one of the things that becomes crucial here is reflected in the audience i see because you because you see there are people in this audience who are aspiring for the academic profession but i see quite a few people because i know them in different contexts or just simply people that love ideas. if they would look at him where people are talking about it more but the question of what he says actually moves her spirit. now when we begin thinking through this it becomes crucial
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to think through the university press is doing. you know what the book culture is doing because it is reminding us of what it means to engage ideas and that doesn't mean to be reading the words on a page. it means to throw oneself into that role of ideas because there's something very powerful about ideas. some of you when you read the book will notice i talk about power and one of the things about power that is often overlooked is the power, and there is a lot of missed information about power but it ultimately is the ability to make things happen. if you think about the most you think about it because it's
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going to make sense. it's going to make things happen. it would be very weird if god says i can't. of course the ability to do something means to transcend our bodies and one of the beautiful things about writing is that writing ideas transcend us to reach to others. it's part of the world such that we are in this room right now and whatever ideas they say can affect people across the globe. it's really miraculous that we in this room can go through this library and engage a thought from thousands of years ago. whoever it may be the idea that
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he died in 1961 and we are right here not simply talking about him but one of the projects was to deal with what was the occasion by those ideas. one of these as the members pointed out that a lot of people were mad about the things he said. so it's also to battle with profound investments in misrepresenting what he said and it gets even scarier in the world where the idea is a it's funny reading novels and going to films which we see for instance white men can go around and shoot hundreds of people i massacre, rape, do all that anticult and heroes. but in any remote sense they say
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i'm going to fight back. it's called violence. it scares the crap out of people because they never spoke about violence in an unapologetic way it made him something that terrified the crap out of a lot of people which is ironic because as i point out in the book he detested violence. the thing was if you really detest violence violence it's not through saying i want to be so clean you don't do it by getting back into violence. he then argued that there is a form that is the preservation of violence and if you really are against violence the argument is you get off your butt and do something about it. so that's a different way of looking at these issues.
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i bring this up because the culture is a blog in which i was given some very good questions for the site. if you don't see many answers you can read them their. one of them is why did you write this book and i love these questions. i am not afraid of why he did certain things. one of the reasons i wrote this book is the introduction to the africana philosophy and in a nutshell is the tendency not only in the academy that the presupposition and the order of things around college that people in indigenous groups because they are linked to an economy that what they could offer its experience in if you
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want to have ideas and knowledge you have to look at things right. at first it was a good reason you see a lot of things about this experience. the decision is in the voice of their life, but it's always a baritone voice. i have a theory about that but it's another story. if there's a world that tells you that you do not have a point of view if you will be in the economy of property then something is told to you. i could understand that. but the problem is everyone has an experience of figuring out his or her experience and you are to bring an id or meaning to its experience and a few do it
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for knowledge then you will be blocked in what i and others called epidemic dependency or colonization. so i've argued that the belongs to all of us and we must take responsibility. it's part of the liberation practice which is why it is vital. in that framework if we collapse this dichotomy is a problem because whenever you bring up a black intellectual or who is looking at the world from the perspective is a tendency not to want to have that a book of ideas so when i wrote the introduction to the philosophy it was about showing what it is to engage the intellectual
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history as a philosophical problem so that was two series history in terms of dealing with the more than 1500 years discussion of the modern conception of that history. but it's because of the investment of being more concerned in the biography than that the idea. you can't imagine which most of it is about his personal life and what they did instead of what they thought so it's bizarre to think it's allowing those matters in the biography over thought and you can see how
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this connects and more people are concerned. now it is in that spirit the project was twofold. it wasn't simply to engage the thought but to engage the question of engaging the posh said it was a constant relationship of. and it's with that in mind i think the panel because they honed in very well on those questions and i'm going to address them now. the first thing to bear in mind and i will start with you but i have to add something. simply not here in gauging this but i i asked her to write the afterward. i asked her to write because there's a missing element of important thoughts many of you may not be aware of because it
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was translated into english but she was part. this was one of the most institution builders. i organized to become at her when she organized the meeting so i wanted not only to talk about how they want people to ask if this woman and a '-begin-single-quote she's about in a way she's linked just why by asked her to write the afterward because although she's here in this context she was one of the pioneers not only in her intellectual work and in the construction law but she did something connected to this
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entire panel. we wrote in some of the writings to develop what we called the pedagogical imperative. it's what we understand that where we understand that they are above all a student. but in fact people fell in love with learning that we just continue to learn more. she's always expanding what she is learning and is organizing meetings around african-american philosophy for the philosophical thought and in fact in the beginning of my career one of the first talks i gave along with norman chandler was organized because she was trying to remind the american philosophical association that there are people who think they are not white or male. the question connects this
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important way because it made a lot of people mad. what is interesting is a lot of the debate on the left and a few stimulated a lot of the debate on the left he was critical of the notion. there were a lot of people who would argue something in a nutshell that comes down to this you are indigenous people. you should wait until you get developed enough to be an industrial proletariat so you could enter h. grew universal revolution. that's the kind of pitch rising discourse dominated. but if you go earlier and look at the writings of martin luther king junior, you could look at the writings of lorraine and take over to julia say over to julia cooper and go through the school tradition.
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all of the effort and some version of a letter from birmingham which is why we can't wait. and that's why we can't wait as a theoretical critique of the dialectic and in fact when you look at the writing there is something you will find out this rather curious and to give you an idea about this, he wasn't only a philosopher. he wasn't only a psychiatrist but what kind of psychiatrist? he wasn't only a classical psychiatrist because of therapy team is also a certain sick psychologist. and i took about it in the book if you read his writings you will notice his peculiar talent for investigative work. so he's like a sherlock holmes shoving the panthers this thing going on again extremely enough african syndrome or the woman of
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color. that's a question. one of the things he was tapping into come here reflected in his last biography of last decade of the first century it didn't follow that he had the knowledge of the theoretical perspective that would clarify. it's not that he didn't know black women. he had sisters but the reality of clinical life was one of excluded if there was good reason for this because most psychiatric facilities had white women and men of color. the reason is you really are
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going to have a woman of color whether it is in north africa, southern africa, the united states and the period of delirium to the room they are governed by a white man and told to administer therapy. it was a recipe for rape. if you wanted to learn about the life he would have to work in social work because it would bring the family in and the room and you have a more protected therapeutic subject. in terms of the questions that were asked it connects to a fundamental question in my writing which is that a lot of what has happened is the question of what it means to be human, the crisis around the
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questions so now adjusts all of these by pointing out the applied model is that the dialectical and in fact if you see the philosophical anthropology that treats the subject as close fails to do with human agency and the fact that they are all always building relations that constitute. we are witnessing it right now. nobody in the room has any expectation that the very core conceptions at the level of basic relations would have an impact on the identity we have today. we are already shifting to the question of how we look at gender and race and many of these other categories but it's
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connected to the question of the new technologies of how we are setting up relations with each other that affect question the very idea. many philosophers reject the position that what we really are are actually relations in the making and we think if we change one the others will remain the same. they thought they could simply pick up and keep the system impact but they will shift the role. you could try but the goal to keep the system impact for the
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orientation gets to put them in and make them into what is already there is a. it was a critique and there is an interesting one because it's something i ate until you when i talk about in the book and for those is very crucial to understand.
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if you think about what it is. as you know they have the privilege and power not to enough to be in relations with those that are not. then you become like a god. but the human world is a world of relations. so once it happens it comes to the question because it is not gender or class is a super gaming category of the other. what he actually does is to see what happens if they are interacting the production of new relations, so if you are talking about a revolutionary activity around race, gender or any of the categories, what you are doing is arguing about
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building different kinds of human beings and this becomes something very crucial because as we get into the question of an open dialect and the question that's related to come then we begin to realize this. if you are going to make what you are a close relation to the categories you it means you are not frozen. if however you are going to talk about them as open relations if it's not about competition then you have to deal with the idea that what you are building is a different kind of world which it is organically related to sue if
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you think about it in terms of someone like mark's you have to look closely for the relationship. they think he means an identity that no. he needs you may belong to one commitment that the other work may be linked to another. for each to develop where that humanity is going, those that do not become counter revolutionary. i wrote the virtual transformation and it's connected to the question because you see at first when we think about the virtuality we often try to impose the models on how we understand the
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technologies and human beings. but what we. that would be discovered but what we discovered is almost everything we tried to predict every time for the technologies. we always use a past version of things we never thought of before and so in effect although there is a two-dimensional reality perhaps it transcends those and we are dealing with new ways to think about what it is. i know they are talking about the attack on cornell west which is a profound piece of writing for many reasons. you know there are also -- the problem with it is that it's a sticky. if you comment on that it can get away from the issue because
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at the end of the day the intellectual achievements are there and the conception of what he wanted to do. but i have a question about prince boettcher remember he worked for kennedy to get into office and everybody that everybody knows that he wasn't a conservative. it was something that doesn't exist today that he should have been outraged to be treated that way when he fought so hard to get the president legitimacy. she shouldn't have been treated that way. but as we know there will be a
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lot of opportunities because when you deal with the intellectuals come a lot of people want peace because it has a lot of coverage and i noticed very much they were giving shout outs to the peace because they are powerful institutions. one thing i can tell you that always struck me i first encountered when i was a little boy and by him called out from a bunch of books and put them on the shelf and never read an. however, i was in the house, a little boy that could read and it's a very unusual story. i started speaking at a very
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early age and i was reading everything in sight. i couldn't understand a lot of it but that spoke to me the language and i kept reading and one of the things when i could understand it more and it was connected because he met me when i gave a talk at brown university where he heard me talk about texas dental and he was shocked and he wanted to see it in a very different way. when i met nelson. the department was treating him in a profoundly racist way. the idea of what he was committed to was jeopardized.
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let me stay around a little bit longer and they developed a relationship with a sandwich the talents came to the floor and i bring this up because why i decided to write this t-shirt. if education is right it's an act of love and about the growth of others and he's absolutely correct by pointing out this question. you see in a lot of my writings one of the things i argue against his ridiculous cliché. it means you pay attention to
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people's strengths and weaknesses. if you've ever been loved, you have other flaws and you won't have that many other way so part of the question is in fact they can be connected also to their strength. the disconnect to at the two the two that i give you to argument that it is connected to a different radical democracy then what it is in the sovereignty is that real freedom is for people to be about to live and exercise their right not only to make the world better but also in the process to be able to take responsibility for their own mistakes. there are always people trying to tell you in advance what will work and what will fail. he says you may have failed but who says we will and in fact
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people in the past would have said set a gathering like this with the democratic constitution was an impossibility if you are here. it's to encounter the possibility by making it transform into the possible. so what i would argue and i have argued is that in the short life of the 36-year-old revolutionary is an understanding that ultimately if you are going to do what really matters, you have to love so powerfully that you would put yourself out of the way for the interest of doing what needs to be done. '
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>> thank you very much. we have some time for questions. what's with the audience participates so we can get you in. i will bring the microphone around. please wait for the microphone for your questions as to if there are first questions please let me know. and please see your name and introduce yourself. when you come up to you wanted to want to do me a favor? >> my name is david norman is. i'm a student at columbia university. i wrote a paper on the chapter that some people translate.
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i think that he entered the question that i was caught up of the dichotomy going on so i thought i had a grasp but now it's kind of tenuous if i need to know. i hate to be imposed or derived from. i would also like to know is there any more profound answer to that but not so profound that i can't answer it? >> could we get this questions
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in case we run out of time. when you call me and ask me. it's written 67 years before he was born. and i correct? because you did call and ask if. you do have it in the book.
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>> d. want to begin or do you have questions that on what he was saying? one of the reasons i was focused on this is because a lot of people work with this dichotomy so they think about the supposedly mature and at the age of 36 but the thing about what's interesting and this is connected to what one of my students is talking about. one of the things that's interesting.
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have you ever met some people matter how much they get they are so immature. he was already very mature throughout his writings. but one of the ideas that become hershel is that there is a distinction between texas and joel koichi. ontology of being treats the idea that there is a sort of province reality. an access control, it means to stand out. this means that there is a collapse of an identity relation in which things become closed
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source it opens the drug problems and freedom. what does freedom bring? is was connected to something very terrifying. the terrifying things is that it brings with it responsibility. but i would like to show some of the people who understood all the way to the presence and if you look at the black medical transition it was doing something more having some responsibility. when you come across slave narratives or writings from people that are living under the same conditions that there is a bizarre strange, which is you come across people who look as though they have no control of the objective circumstances
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around them. if you're a slave you can run every place and they will catch you up, whatever, the options are very limited. they've written about your own extensions. go through the experience of access to joe don't. but if you know you cannot escape and you feel or suffer a sense of responsibility. remember when i took the power. they want you to have the extent of your body can physically reach and that's what you are doing they can only interact with materials. that's what you do when you're in prison people because it
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doesn't mean they are here. if can only affect the parameters of the south. even though your options are limited at the told the choices are and this has been the problem of the resignation because you see. do you lie to yourselves or do all of these things? as part of our part of our freedom is that we have the freedom to escape our freedom but you will go more inward and then implode.
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you transcend them in other words it can assert how you relate to it. i'm saying because you could experience that you have a unique set of suffering. that is argued in a lot of his writing. whether it's psychoanalysis language philosophy they offered them complete but once you bring other forms of pressure they will deal with the
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particularity. if they were complete it is through which we were created as human beings and we understand our ability to advise the jews because we are linked to freedom so that he means is that it's pushed to the wayside but the human condition isn't just to experience this but for all more radical.
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it's a symbol of carrying. they call it responsible. and that's where we've talked about it for years. but that's another conversation. .. one. i just wanted to comment that i find your critique of academics incredibly refreshing to.
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of spiritual a spiritual nourishment is one of the reasons why because ideas are. i wanted to know what you think of if you're optimistic or pessimistic because i feel a.
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to professionalize a become white, and i find that incredibly depressing and i just want to know what you think -- going forward, you know, in this more professionalized world you have to professionalize professionalize. what happens with ideas and what happens with -- is it just going
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to become more and more closed off from the real world. >> well, i think my colleagues could add to this, but one of the things i could mention is this is a -- i've been doing a lot of work with helping develop alternative types of intellectual production, and among them is what i do with the magazine -- well, the online news organization, "throughoutout." i bleed -- i wrote a piece for them and the piece was on the market -- entitled o'the market colonization of intellectuals." one thing to bear in mind before -- the first thing i'd like to mention because it's about the colonialization of intellectuals. it's more than a question about
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becoming white. the reason i say that is there are many intellectuals of color who do get caught into making themselves for sale to the highest bidder, and this phenomenon is connected to something that is very powerful in the market. one thing i -- i'm not going to mention here but other place is talk about it, and i talk about in the book calls disciplinary decadence. at the market has -- sylvia brings this up, too. if you get the opportunity to read her work. the talks.the theology, theological dimension of market forces. in other words its insufficient for the to simple police be market but for the markets to become almost god-like. if you think about the theology of the market it means the market has to make sure that there's nothing that is an exception to it. you see? now, the old model of what it is to be an intellectual is that
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schooling, intellectual work, creativity is a space that is actually supposed to be at the limits of where the market would reach. but as we know the goal, particularly if you look at the conception of market fundamentalism, it's argued that nothing is out of reach of the market. so in effect, then, thal that the academy could be a point of refuge from the market has to be overcome. now, how much so? well the easiest way is to shift from ideas to the question of jobs. this is something that many people have written on this, the distinction between other job and work. for instance, barbara siegel is in here. she's an artist, a professor took but she is also -- fundamentally an artist, which means although she has also a job, her work, her life work, is in the arts. you see what i'm getting at?
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and similarly when you each in this room have a project an intellectual project, it's not just a job if you're falling in love with it as that which you have an intellectual home. that does not work if the goal is to be the market colonialization of thought itself. what i find fascinating is this. have you noticed that any intellectual -- i'm talking about nonacademic intellectual -- if that intellectual makes a splash, whether it's a poet, novelist, or as a essayist, the first thing goes through many people's mind can we get them a job in a university? why do we presume that the legitimacy depends on them having university jobs in that's because there's been a very effective job done in closing off alternative spaces in which
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there could be free intellectual work. the more we squeeze off alternative types of intellectual appropriation, more more an intellectual to be an intellectual has to rely on the academy framework not a site of research and throughout but as a site of employment. once that begins to happen, the next stage -- you all must notice that. isn't it weird that there are people who try to sell their political identity as a commodity? there are people who want you to hire them at universities not because of the contributions to knowledge, not because of the creative idea, but because you like their politics. and in many ways, even this thing we just talked about about this new republic article it's measure markettization of
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intellectuals. it's not about the idea. it's about trying to bottom line the economy what would make a certain set of intellectuals more marketable. and there are people who challenge that because if they -- what makes you presume i'm doing this work to get those things? and so in my career, what has perplexed a lot of people can they don't know what the hell i want. there's a presupposition that if the carrot is nut front of you for the highest placing you go for that. but many people say no all the time to things because they have other projected. comes back to a very different issue. the fundamental investment is to make you see if you do not follow the mechanism of that conception of rationalitt in the mark to make yourself into a commodity and make your ideas mott you north being raggal. so if you're going to resist that you need a different conception how to face that market of rationality.
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i argue there's a ten different rationale and reasonablity there are many ideas of rationality and you can come out as unreasonable. i usually put it this way. nobody in any room wants to be married to a maximally rational person. i call it hell. bus there's a point at which reasonability years nor what you stand for. reasonability requires knowing which rules you may have to break thaws the rules with spray compromise your integrity. reasonableibility is connected -- you could -- the world -- there are good buys, bad guys, rational, irrational. anybody with adult responsibility knows the thing i talked about when i talked about responsibility for responsibility. when you an adult you have to
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make the decision over even responsibility itself and you may have to say you know what? here are -- actually argues more than 25 years ago -- here are the limits but paradoxically the limits can open the possibility. so if you're resisting the market colonialization of what it is to be intellectual -- a lot of people want to be sold out to be to the highest bidder. the truth there is a lot of people that don't really care about what you think. they just care about the job you have. and that's a very narcissistic thing that people can buy into. it's good to have people think of you at being more valuable. but the fact of the matter is, that in spite of those categories, if you're going to take the position there oar thing that are more valuable, it means once you made that decision you have different
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choices to make, and it may mean that you would have to go through the hard work of developing alternative possibilities. and to close on this point i give you an example. the fact of the matter is, we're here meeting a lot of press that a while back was considered a small academic press. but a very creative woman left stanford and a creative team of people came here and the book used to be with these other kinds of presses but because we respected the integrity of this individual and what the team of people are trying to do at this press, you see what i'm getting at? we made a decision, and not only us others like us -- look. you're the butler. publish wherever she damwell pleases. she is publishing with this press. it's because of the commitment of what the community is trying to do. now, if you begin to do that kind of work, you create
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alternatives because the stronger the press gets, it mean that people who are really doing intellectual work have a place in which to do. i similarly if you build institutions throughout the global south and give alternatives -- for instance -- went to uganda and created an institute because he wanted a place where africans can actually do intellectual work instead of the presumption of simply vocational training. he created these resources. there are a lot of people who found a political identity but the actual institutions we build that create alternatives for people will enable those things to function. a group of us, when we said, look, there are people not discussing certain issues in the caribbean, there's a very famous anthropologist -- i won't mention his name -- he said what we were trying to do 18 year ago was ridiculous. he said, to create a caribbean
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philosophical association would be imperial. we should resist imperialism and -- get this -- criticism. we said, you know what? we'd rather build it and if the subsequent generations are criticizing us, at least ace framework in which theirs an an an alternative system of knowledge and they don't have dependency to europe. then it's now 18 years later their volumes -- it will be ridiculous for them to come out without dealing caribbean philosophy, fem is in theories taking different forms decolonial studies other, areas of thought, and it's not our view that those who succeed us are simply to be yoked by to us do it our way. our whole point is for them to overcome us, to open up a world of things we could never have thought of, and that's what it
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is when you dollar with ideas versus the simply of comedy knowledge practices. this is not a point about pessimism. i don't believe in the discourse about pessimism and optimism. they're bowed on perception of the relation to the future. i not only ask whether i can or succeed or whether i'll fail. we need simply to try and see what happens. so if we have a process-oriented model, then we will figure it out when we get there if we fail that's all it means we failed. if we succeed whatever that is maybe be on terms we never could have imagined and that's what it is to be beyond pessimism optimism and nihilism. it's committed to genuine practice. >> i know that there are other questions -- [applause] -- but in the interest of time we're going to call it here and people can continue to question
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over wine and cheese. please thank the panelists. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> booktv is on facebook, like to us get pushing news, scheduling updates, behind the scenes pictures and videos, author information and to talk directly with authors during the live programs. tv. >> this summer, booktv will cover book festivals from around the country and top nonfiction authors and books. near the end of june watch for the annual roosevelt reading vehicle from the franklin d. roosevelt presidential library in july rear live at the harlem book fair, the nation's flagship african-american literary event with author interviews and panel
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discussions. at the beginning of september we're live from nation's capitol for in the national book festival celebrating its 15th 15th year. that's few of the events this summer on c-span2's booktv. >> here's a look at some of the current best-selling nonfiction books according to indy bound which represents sales in independent book stores throughout the country. topping the list, david mccullough recount thing birth of flight in o'the wright brothers" followed by "tidying up." david brooks latest book comes in third in roy the record to character" looking at the lives of ten historical figures as examples how to achieve discuss. next o'dead wake "recounting the sinking of the lusitania. and "with" an examination end of


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